ATTOM Data Solutions just released its Q4 2019 US Home Affordability Report that indicates 71% of US counties, or 344 of 486 counties, remained unaffordable for average wage earners. This 71% is an eye-popping statistic BUT still an improvement of lack of affordability over 73% in Q3 2019 and 75% in Q4 2018.
ATTOM’s Housing Affordability Index calculates the amount of income one would need to make for monthly house payments including monthly mortgages fees, property taxes and home insurance on a median price home. ATTOM assumes a 3% down payment and a 28% maximum “front end” debt-to-income ratio.) ATTOM then compares that required income to the annualized average weekly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Despite declining mortgage rates and increasing wages compensating for rising home prices, home ownership still eats up 32.5% of wages and is still less affordable in 49% of local markets. Again, that 49% is an improvement from a whopping 72% in Q4 2018. Price appreciation, +9% y/y, outpaced wage growth in 76% during Q4 2019.
Attom’s 10 Least Affordable Counties with Populations of +1M in Q4 2019
- Los Angeles County CA
- Maricopa County (Phoenix) AZ
- San Diego County CA
- Orange County CA
- Miami-Dade County FL
- Kings County NY
- Dallas County TX
- Riverside County CA
- Queens County NY
- San Bernardino County CA
ATTOM’s Most Affordable Counties with Populations of +1M in Q4 2019
- Cook County (Chicago) IL
- Harris County (Houston) TX
- Wayne County (Detroit) MI
- Philadelphia County PA
- Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) OH
- Franklin County (Columbus) OH
- Oakland County (Pontiac) MI
- Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) PA
- Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) NC
- Fulton County (Atlanta) GA
With a national median home price of $257,000 in Q4 2019, an average weekly wage earner would need a gross annual income of $67,647 in order to achieve home ownership.
Counties Requiring The Smallest Amount of Annualized Weekly Wages in Q4 2019 included…
- Baltimore City/County MO – 11.2%
- Bibb County (Macon) GA – 12.4%
- Rock Island County (Davenport) IL – 14.4%
- Wayne County (Detroit) MI – 15.2%
- Richmond County (Augusta) GA – 15.2%
Counties Requiring The Greatest Percentage of Annualized Weekly Wages in Q4 2019 included…
- Marin County CA – 111.2%
- Kings County (Brooklyn) NY – 103.6%
- Santa Cruz County CA – 103%
- Monterey County CA – 88%
- Maui County HW – 84.9%
Counties with +1M People Seeing The Biggest Annual Percentage Improvement in Affordability in Q4 2019 included…
- New York (Manhattan) NY – +33%
- Kings County (Brooklyn) NY – +20%
- Middlesex County (outside Boston) MA – +14%
- Santa Clara County CA – +13%
- Orange County (outside of Los Angeles) CA – +11%
Counties with -1M People Seeing The Biggest Annual Percentage Improvement in Affordability in Q4 2019 included…
- Butte County (north of Sacramento) CA – +39%
- Bay County (Panama City) FL – +26%
- Florence County SC – +26%
- Cecil County (outside of Wilmington) MD – +23%
- Bristol County (outside of Providence) MA – +21%
Thanks to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Christine Stricker for source data.